(Ann Arbor, MI) This week brings a school-first for Concordia University with women's lacrosse kicking off their inaugural campaign against Cleary University. The Cardinals, coached by Amanda Asher will be the 8th team in the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference. Asher brings coaching experience from the club, high school, and collegiate effort which she has used to prepare the team for its inaugural campaign.
"The support we have received from the Concordia family as a new program has been unbelieveable," said Asher. "The team has been working extremely hard and getting better every day."
The Cardinals kick off their first season of competition with a non-conference matchup against another first year program, Cleary University, on March 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Legacy Center in Brighton, MI. Following their season opener, Concordia jumps right into conference play by welcoming (RV) Siena Heights into Cardinal Stadium on March 15 for what will be the program's first home game.
The Siena Heights tilt is the first of 14 conference games (including home and home matchups with each of the other seven teams in the WHAC). The conference is expected to be nationally competitive this season with five teams represented in the pre-season Coaches' Poll.
The Cardinals will have two matchups with defending NAIA National Invitational Champion and preseason #1 ranked Davenport University, and will also face #4 Lawrence Tech University, #5 Indiana Tech, and (RV) Lourdes University. Concordia will also square off twice with the other first year program in the WHAC, Madonna University, on March 18 at 3:00 p.m. in Livonia and on April 1 at 1:00 p.m. in Ann Arbor.
The Cardinals will be led by captains Nina Pantich (JR/Milwaukee, WI), Emily Collins (SO/Clinton Township), Jessica Russ (FR/Madison, AL), and Abbey Turner (FR/Grand Ledge, MI). Russ and Turner were part of Cardinals first recruiting class and are expected to be key contributors along with fellow freshmen Jenna Buck (FR/Big Rapids, MI), Brianna Limback (FR/Fishers, IN), Samantha Shatrau (FR/Commerce Township, MI), Allyson Sovis (FR/New Lothrop, MI), and Erin Wagnitz (FR/Waterford, MI).
Concordia's upper class includes five juniors: Pantich, Emily Racey (JR/Clinton Township), Grace Stadler (JR/Monroe, MI), Kimberly Thompson (JR/East Lansing, MI), and Hallie Williams (JR/Detroit, MI); and two seniors: Alex Beall (SR/Muskegon, MI) and Emily Janssen (SR/Springfield, IL).
While the Cardinals are short on experience as a first year team, Coach Asher has been impressed with the team's work ethic throughout fall practices, conditioning and into the spring. "A lot of work has gone into the lead up for this first game," Asher commented. "This group is building a solid foundation for the Concordia women's lacrosse program going forward."